What beauty is…

My dad taught me to appreciate the beauty around me.

My mom taught me to appreciate the beauty within people.

I used to drive through the Appalachian Mountains and watch as the seasons changed on my way to and from work. It was so peaceful.

I see the Rocky Mountains everyday now and they spark awe inside me each time.

There are things I never thought I would see in this world but I get a chance to now.

I took an adventure to the top of the Arch and peered out over the city and miles stretched out before me. I stood at the shoreline of the Mississippi River peering across to Illinois.

I walked the streets of St. Louis looking at crumbling brick buildings thinking of what made that city fall so quickly. Yet in that city I met people who put love into the universe. People who had nothing to give and were grateful for a smile and some kind people. People who said thank you and genuinely meant it.

I met a woman struggling with the loss of someone close to her because of addiction. She was the sweetest person and her pain was so deep. I pray she will have peace.

I met a man who prefers living in a tent instead of a house. He is smart. He is kind.

I met a man who spent over four decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and was exonerated for. He still smiled.

I met a woman who’s love passed away yet she was able to still honor his memory and find love again.

I met a woman who’s voice was hidden and watched her transform literally in front of my eyes into a true warrior for those who have yet to find their own voices.

I met and married a man who’s love for Christ knew no bounds. Who helped others despite his pain. Who taught me what faith really was.

I watched a man stumble from alcohol more times than I can count. He finally got sober and has not stopped writing to help others.

I met a man who’s brother committed suicide. His pain is deep and yet he still has a smile on his face always trying to motivate others.

I watched a man stand there and tell me he is proud of me. He doesn’t know me well. Yet he could see that even though he walked away I became more than he could have ever dreamed I would.

I met a woman who was once broken down by a man. She found the courage to stand up and fight for herself and children.

I’ve seen people fall apart. I’ve seen people come together. I’ve seen love shine through the darkest of hearts. I’ve met countless people who made a mark on my heart and soul.

None of these things would be possible if I didn’t believe in God and the power of his grace. I was saved for a reason on a few different occasions. I’m sure I’m living my purpose and able to visit amazing places and meet incredible people because of that. I struggle everyday even if doesn’t look like it. But the people I meet and the sights I see keep me strong.

We get to live in this beautiful world everyday. We get to feel the sun shine and see the stars sparkle. We are the people who get to live. We are the people who still get to love. Don’t waste it.

My dad taught me to appreciate the beauty around me. Look around and see it for yourself.

My mom taught me to appreciate the beauty within people. Talk to the people you meet and learn what makes them who they are.

The photo that inspired this short writing.

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Lauren Reed

Lauren Reed

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